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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Dental Management

Majors Overview January 10, 2014

Students who are committed to the dental field but aren’t interested in becoming a dentist may start their career in dental management. A few institutions offer Associate of Arts programs in dental management, which corresponds with dental technology or dental assisting, to prepare students for the skills necessary to manage larger clinics and private dental practices.

A.A. Programs in Dental Management

Students enrolled in an associate’s degree program, in dental management, are provided knowledge on laboratory and clinical procedures, in addition to skills related to assisting a dental office administration. They can expect to acquire strong communication and interpersonal skills to aid them in interacting with staff and patients. Students also become adept in patient billing and budgeting, in addition to dealing with dental insurance companies. Vocational schools and community colleges commonly offer these two-year programs. Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma.


Coursework within an Associate Degree Program in Dental Management usually covers not only dental procedures but also office management skills. Clinical experiences and general education requirements are augmented with courses in subject areas such as:

•Dental insurance
•Customer service
•Medical terminology
•Dental radiology
•Healthcare legal issues

Job and Wage Outlook

A job growth rate of 25% has been predicted for dental assistants during the period from 2010 to 2020 (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics). In 2010, dental assistants earned an average annual wage of $34,500. In 2013, dental office managers in the 10th to 90th percentile who had 20 years or more of work experience took home annual average wages ranging between $27,608 and $54,404.

Continuing Education and Certification Choices

Dental assistants are required, by many states, to obtain certification, and applicants must accordingly find out the credentials they need to work within their state. A certified preventative dental assistant (CPDA) and a certified dental assistant (CDA) are among credentials offered by the Dental Assisting National Board, Inc. (DANB). Passage of an exam will help candidates acquire these one-year certifications that can be renewed through continuing education and payment of a renewal fee. Students cannot usually seek continued education beyond a dental management degree.

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